Apple seems to be selling albums on its Japanese iTunes Web site so cheaply that it has to be a mistake! The 50 yen per album selling price falls pretty short of what was probably the intended price. How did this happen? Well, it was very likely a mistake, and 1,500 yen was the intended price. It is hard to say for certain what happened, as Apple has declined to comment. The wonderful, low price of 50 yen per album was available last Thursday from the early morning to late afternoon, where hundreds of albums were downloaded, including those by rock group RC Succession and singer Saori Yuki, and sold at the lower price.

"This must be due to confusion on the sales side because of the unexpected popularity of the service," said music journalist Daisuke Tsuda.

People who downloaded the albums last Thursday received sales confirmations via e-mail from Apple with the 50-yen price, the sources said. Credit card billing statements for the purchases will also list the 50-yen price.

"We have heard talk about it (the low price), but our company is involved (only) in selling wholesale. The actual prices are up to the Web site," a Toshiba EMI representative said.